BT has announced the next phase of its fibre broadband rollout, which will bring fibre access to 1.2 million extra homes and businesses in Scotland, the Midlands, the north east and north west of England.
BT's wholesale arm Openreach will upgrade 99 new exchanges by around spring next year to deliver fibre broadband to 600,000 premises, and reach a further 600,000 with "infill" work on areas it has previously announced, BT said on Tuesday.
The telco added it is looking at "alternative solutions" for premises in the areas covered by the exchanges that, for reasons of network topography or low return on investment, won't be able to get fibre access. Among the possible alternative solutions being considered are cellular options such as 4G LTE, as well as satellite and white-space broadband.
The 99 additional exchanges announced today will bring BT's total in the UK to around 1,700, covering 19 million premises. Around 13 million homes and businesses are now within range of its fibre network, according to BT.
When all the announced exchanges are live, BT will have met its target of delivering fibre broadband to two-thirds of the UK without government funding.
BT will also look to extend its rollout to other regions — most likely to be rural areas where the economics of delivering broadband don't stack up for commercial providers — using public funds administered by BDUK. BT said it is now beginning to identify additional exchanges that will get fibre with local authorities, using BDUK funding.
Openreach's fibre-to-the-cabinet offerings give download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps, leaving speed and price discrimination to retail service providers.
Openreach will make its FTTP service, which tops out at 330Mpbs, commercially available on demand from spring 2013. The price to service providers, in addition to a one-off installation levy, has been set at £38 a month.